John McAfee is claiming that the U.S. government is so “illiterate,” when it comes to protecting the country’s digital assets, that he’s unsure how it can even consider itself a world power any more. This came to light during a chat about the ex-anti-virus founder’s recent offer to the FBI to crack iPhone security to help the authorities learn more about one of the attackers in the San Bernardino tragedy last year.
With Apple and CEO Tim Cook resisting demands from the government to relax security on the iPhone, McAfee recently offered the services of he and his team, suggesting that they could do it without difficulty. However McAfee has been critical of the hacking abilities of U.S. security experts for some time, even campaigning for president on that ticket, hoping to encourage a more serious approach to digital espionage.
That’s the sort of approach other countries like Russia and China have, he claimed in a recent interview with Maximum PC, stating that those countries could shut down U.S. infrastructure at will if they wished. They can’t access smartphones too easily just yet though, which is why McAfee doesn’t want Apple to cave to FBI demands and instead wishes to crack it open manually with his small team.
“Now the FBI thinks that they have it. But the FBI and the NSA don’t even have the data reduction capacity. Sure they can tap everybody’s phone, but there’s so much data they can’t refine and use it. Trust me. The Chinese can,” he said.
Part of the problem, he claims, is the way government infrastructure works. Because you only get promoted,” nobody gets fired,” he said, there isn’t much incentive to do a good job – you just don’t rock the boat. They also don’t hire the right people apparently, as the government cares about appearances. They won’t hire someone who smokes weed, but China and Russia would, he said, as long as it gets them the best hackers in the world.
When it comes to advice for the public, McAfee had plenty also. He said no one should be too concerned about their laptop or PC as “very few people hack these anymore.” Smartphones however are another matter. He suggests everyone pay far more attention to the permissions on the apps they install.
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KitGuru Says: McAfee does have a bit of a conspiracy enthusiast feel to him, but he has passion and that’s hard not to respect. Do you think he has it right on the state of U.S. cyber security?